Of course, "the rest of the story" of Christmas includes the account of a very different spirit, one that momentous political events during this Christmas season inevitably bring to mind. In the aftermath of Christ's birth, wise men came in search of him, asking "Where is he that is born King of the Jews?" Fearing that this portended both the end of his kingly reign and the removal of the succession from his descendants, Herod, the king of Judaea, sent for these men and "sent them to Bethlehem, saying, 'Go and search diligently for the child and when you have found him bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.'" But after they found the Christ child and honored him with gifts and worship, "warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way."
In recent weeks America's elected leaders in Congress have been debating what is supposed to be a bill to reform the nation's health care sector. Its proponents pretend that their intent is better to serve life by extending health services to people in need. But their true intent has been revealed by the sly maneuvers and corrupt practices they have used to enforce their insistence that, come what may, the supposed health reform act must include U.S. government funding for child murder. Though, like Herod, they cloak their real intent, this insistence reveals their true priority. Their chief aim is not to assure all America access to health services. It is to make all Americans complicit in the slaughter of the innocents. Though their deceptive slogan speaks of choice, in the moral realm they are insisting that Americans who reject the absurd notion of a right to murder our posterity shall have no choice but to see the fruits of their labor used to reward a practice they rightly regard as an abomination.
This Christmastide I am praying that the true spirit of Christmas will prevail in the counsels of our nation. I am praying that, despite the bribes and threats of those who give top priority to murder, the heart of Christ will truly be born again in the hearts of enough representatives in Congress to put a halt to the charade of evil which claims to serve our nation's health but aims in fact to destroy its healthy conscience and goodwill. With such courage, they will offer their nation a gift truly in keeping with the gift of God we celebrate: the birth of the one whose triumph over death renews, despite all evil human willing, God's offer of more abundant life for all. That's a health care promise to believe in.